King's College London
Online Exhibitions
Revolution!

Freud and psychoanalysis

By Luiz da Motta-Teixeira, Psychodynamic Therapist, King’s Counselling Service

Title page of featured itemTitle page of Freud’s Das Ich und das Es, 1923 If you are reading this, the words 'ego', 'id', and 'psychoanalysis', are unlikely to be unfamiliar to you. Perhaps you have accessed 'counselling' or considered looking for 'professional help' at some point. You are likely to have read magazine articles about 'psychological processes' or 'group dynamics', or to have encountered terms like 'narcissism', 'unconscious' and 'Oedipus (complex)' in newspapers or in colloquial usage with friends and family.

You may have experienced 'anxiety' or 'depression' or 'altered states' or 'internal conflicts' which you may be curious about and would like to understand better. You may wonder about addictions, obsessions, phobias, violence, desire, frustration, dreams, relationships, or 'personality types' - in yourself or others. You must have seen 'shrinks' in film or TV representations. Or your interest in the field of 'therapy' may itself be extensive, either personally or professionally. Had you been born as little as 100 years ago, the same would most likely NOT be the case! Like it or lump it, our cultural world, vocabulary and references are undeniably and indelibly impacted on by Freud's body of work.

Prior to Freud, the functioning of the human mind was a matter of interest to all those inclined to contemplate the bewildering array of human experience: thinking, feelings, perceptions, responses, motivations, conflicts, passions, awareness, will, personalities, desires, influence, etc. The observation of our inner workings had always fascinated writers and philosophers alike, and this was expressed in literature, poetry, mythologies and philosophies, as well as in religious and ethical doctrines. 'Mental disorders’ and ‘mental disturbances' confounded many, but it was Freud who first attempted formally to 'analyse' and conceptualise all this. Freud’s work has become a touchstone for practitioners, theoreticians and scholars and helps to generate extensive libraries still in constant expansion, and a field of engagement unique in its own right. It also produces dynamic inter-relationships with most other fields – from arts to sciences, from culture to politics, from marketing to sports, from popular culture to academia – permeating our culture in its own – particular and revolutionary – way.

In this exhibition


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